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Showing posts from October, 2012

Living appley ever after

Apples everywhere at the moment: on trees, windfalls in the long grass, and in trailers:




Temperamental weather has left us (and lots of other apple growers) with the worst apple harvest for years - particularly in orchards planted with Cox. And guess what we've got? The applejuice man we sold our crop to last year said it wasn't worth his while sending out pickers and bins and lorries for the few tonnes that we do have so we've started to juice the apples ourselves. We had a trial run (to see what the juice tasted like) with my electric Champion 200 fruit and vegetable juicer and then kitted ourselves out with some proper (if small scale) gear:

From the top: the metal hopper and windable crusher, then the press underneath and the bucket with a tap on the floor. The only thing we add to the juice, in the bucket, is ascorbic acid (basically vitamin C) to stop it going brown, and we let is sit for a few hours to settle before siphoning it into sterilised bottles. Then it gets p…

Bad food

I'm attracting bad food. And in places where I really don't expect to. I tried Carluccio's Pasta Fritta a couple of weeks back - pasta 'crisps' with herbs and sea salt. Sounded good, something savoury to go with the pre-dinner olives and wine. No. They are two words I do not want to see together again, on the page or on a plate. Think salted, wilted cardboard. Perhaps I was unlucky. Carluccio's is generally a good bet. Perhaps I should have stuck with the pasta as a maincourse though because my Italian Sausage with Lentils didn't win any prizes for its looks and only scraped above an average mark in taste. I didn't complain about the pasta crisps and I should have. There could be someone in the kitchen who needs to be told they're doing something wrong. And there was someone in the kitchen at the Giant's Bar in the Mermaid in Rye yesterday - a restaurant and hotel whose reputation has muscles on its muscles - who needed telling. You'd think t…

The scent of memory

This is an appetiser: But work with me first. How do you describe the smell of rain to someone? Or the scent that rises from a drawer full of fresh but worn bed linen when you first open it? I have been trying to capture the smell of my dad’s black donkey jacket, the one he wore to work in the 1960s. When he came home from his shifts at the steelworks he hung it under the stairs in the porch. The closest I can get is ‘a mixture of oil and cold weather and the inside of a lorry cab’.  Tony bought some cheese a couple of weeks ago, two white stiltons, one with chopped mango the other with blueberries. I couldn’t eat the first one: it tasted like tomcats to me. ‘I know what you mean,’ his daughter said. Not that either of us, please believe me, have tasted any part of a tom cat but there was something about the acidity, the sourness, that automatically conjured the image in my head. Or in my mouth. There’s a poem by Kate Clanchy called, 'Poem for a man with no sense of smell’ that close…